RETICLE LIMITS

Periodically some article calling for big this or that. What is not known is that there are some limits to have big of a chunk of silicon the ASML steppers can handle. This is called the rectile limit.

silicon-wafer
Silicon plate with processor cores isolated on white background

AMD has used smaller sized devices for Ryzen 3000 series processors. This allows AMD to get better yields with smaller pieces which are interconnected inside the device case.

The 93i immersion steppers (what’s currently used) that limit is 33×26 which is about 856mm2. Most likely TSMC has set 815 as the limit for their 12 nm node.

The reticle limit for TSMC at 7 nm may well be smaller than the 12nm line. It depends on the ability of ASML to properly align the substrate with the mask and the light source.

If the reticle limit does not change then the number of FET devices can be increased considerably. The smaller transistors increase the number per square millimeter which is a better metric over gate length etc.

Upcoming graphics cards may be made by Samsung or TSMC. All that is known at present is that AMD is making the Ryzen 4000 series processors on the 7 nm line.

AMD also does not have to spend money with royalties to Global Foundries as they have not invested in new lines as of yet. This leaves AMD free to use TSMC.